Obesity Rates Grow Faster in Poor Countries Than Rich Ones

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 03:58 PM

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Obesity rates are rising worldwide, but are increasing faster in poorer developing countries than in wealthy ones, researchers from the Overseas Development Institute say.
 
In a report titled "Future Diets," Sharada Keats and Steve Wiggins found that obesity rates tripled in developing countries between 1980 and 2008, while rates only climbed 1.7 times in high-income countries during the same period, the Huffington Post reported.

"The evidence is well-established: obesity, together with excessive consumption of fat and salt, is linked to the rising global incidence of non-communicable diseases including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and strokes, " the report summary reads. "What has changed is that the majority of people who are overweight or obese today can be found in the developing, rather than the developed, world."
 
Researchers found that North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America now have almost the same percentage of overweight or obese people as Europe, the researchers found.
"In countries with higher average incomes, more attention is being paid to the quality of the diet, and in particular whether it contains enough micronutrients and whether there is a good balance between the major food groups," they said.
 
Even so, one in three adults around the world is obese or overweight, the researchers found.
 
"Even in high-income countries, people on low incomes may struggle to eat diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Very often, the cheapest foods are processed and are high in fats and sugars, with a high energy content per dollar spent, but they are low in micronutrients," they wrote.

"In Seattle, for instance, those who spent less on their food had diets that were nutritionally inferior, which may explain why those on lower incomes do not tend to follow dietary guidelines and have the highest rates of diet-related chronic disease."

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